Legislative and Regulatory Update
April 2019 by Scott Harn
• Bishop and Curtis seek to rein in Antiquities Act abuses
Congressmen Rob Bishop (R-UT) and John Curtis (R-UT) introduced HR 1664, a bill that would set limits on the use of the Antiquities Act to create national monuments.
The bill would require review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for a proposed monument between 640 acres and 10,000 acres. An environmental assessment would also be required for proposed monuments between 5,000 and 10,000 acres. Congressional approval would be required for larger proposed monuments.
It’s unclear whether this bill has the necessary support to pass in the House.
• Lands bill signed by President Trump
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) made a valiant attempt to stop S 47, a huge public lands bill that included permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), but his effort ultimately failed and the bill passed.
Senator Lee had introduced an amendment to remove the permanent funding, but both Democrats and Republicans joined forces to shoot down his amendment. The reason we—and miners in general—were against the bill is because LWCF funds are used to place additional public lands off-limits regardless of whether or not a mineral survey has been completed.
Senator Lee is all too familar with federal land grabs in Utah; he fought to have the size of national monuments reduced in his state when former President Obama used the Antiquities Act to expand them against the wishes of local legislators.
President Trump really did not have a choice but to sign it after it passed with a veto-proof majority. The bill passed the Senate 92-8, with the following Senators voting against it: Cruz (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Johnson (R-WI), Landford (R-OK), Lee (R-UT), Paul (R-KY), Sasse (R-NE), Toomey (R-PA). A House version passed 363-62.
• Judge refuses to grant preliminary injuction to end suction gold dredging moratorium in California
• Proposed listing of Yellow-legged frog and Yosemite Toad in northern California
• Bill to address Forest Service Travel Management restrictions
• Suction gold dredging challenge finally under way
• EPA nullification bill fails in Idaho
• Another bad bill
• Forest Service to revisit 228 regulations
• WOTUS Executive Order suspended
• Forest Service proposes next step in Agenda 21
• 9th Circuit deals blow to small miners
Please note that new mining claims filed on or after September 1, 2019, will be subject to the new fee schedule.
…I’ll be heading back to Washington, DC, on June 4 with Clark Pearson of PLP for nearly a week of meetings with the Mine Safety and Health Administration, US Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency, and numerous members of Congress in both the House and Senate.
The one legal entity that can change the game and provide a path and template to protect landowners and public land users across the United States is the miner.
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